The Washington Huskies got their first sellout of the season on “206 Night” and represented the area code well with an 80-62 whooping of the Cougars. The win improves the Huskies to 15-6 (5-3) and secures their position as 3rd* in the conference standings.
This game couldn’t have started out more differently than their contest 8 days ago at Colorado as the Huskies opened up on fire. Nowell started the action by canning a 3-pointer on the first possession and more buckets quickly followed. Where the Huskies managed just 8 points in the first 8 minutes a week ago, they had 11 in the first 2 minutes tonight.
However, Washington State kept pace by hitting 6 of their first 8 shots. Only a few steals by the Dawgs kept them in the lead. Robert Franks was the 1st half star for the Cougars. He had 9 points and 6 rebounds through the first 12 minutes as Wazzu fought back to take a 25-23 lead over the Huskies. Washington got sloppy midway through the half to compound the problem. On consecutive possessions, first Jaylen Nowell then Matisse Thybulle drove baseline with nowhere to go and gave it away. Only a Hameir Wright highlight reel chase down block prevented the latter from resulting in an easy layup.
Both teams hit a scoring lag but the Huskies’ was shorter and happened first. Eventually, the floodgates opened (not coincidentally after Franks picked up his 2nd foul on an iffy call for a moving screen). Matisse Thybulle hit his 2nd 3-pointer of the half and then it turned into the Dominic Green show. Green hit shots from beyond the arc on 3 of 4 possessions to open up a massive 18-0 UW run to go from down 27-28 to up 45-28. On the first two of those he never had to move his feet as his teammates made a pair of great passes to find him wide open.
That last part was a trend as Washington had its best ball movement possibly all season in the 1st half. They finished the half with 13 assists on 18 baskets which was a far cry from the days earlier this season where they’d go entire games with only 5 assists.
The second half started out the same as the first offensively for Washington State. They made 6 of their first 8 shots again to cut the lead down to just 5 points. Drick Bernstine scored 9 points in 4 minutes including a pair of times securing the rebound and dribbling coast to coast with an and-1 on the 2nd. But then Matisse Thybulle tapped in for Dominic Green.
Thybulle hit a 3-pointer, was fouled, and nailed the free throw for a 4-point play. He followed that up with a put back dunk, a drive and dunk, and another layup to go on a 10-0 scoring run himself and put the Huskies up by 13 once again. The Cougars chose that exact time to go ice cold and ended up going scoreless for a solid six minutes to allow the Huskies to rebuild the lead.
And they wouldn’t get any closer as Washington slowly extended the lead out behind an impressive showing from Nahziah Carter. He scored 11 points in about 5 minutes of time off the clock as the Huskies built out the lead all the way to 24 points. Dan Kingma came off the bench with just under 4 minutes left and Wazzu went on an 8-0 run against the backups to eventually settle on the final margin of 80-62.
Matisse Thybulle led the Huskies with 18 points and 6 assists while Jaylen Nowell (14) and Noah Dickerson (13) joined him and Carter in double figures.
Washington takes the court again on Thursday against Arizona State on a home stand where they have to get a split as home underdogs.
- The Cougars entered the game getting a higher percentage of their points from beyond the arc than any team in the country. UW was allowing teams to shoot just 27.4% from 3-point range in conference play. Something had to give. And the Cougars blinked first. Wazzu shot just 6 of 24 (25% if you’re a Cougar) from deep. They had some success working it inside at times but eventually reverted back to form and chucked up contested 3-pointers when that stopped working as well.
- Washington finished with 20 assists on the game. Their previous high was 24 in the blowout over Bethune-Cookman. But that total tied their high in conference play from the conference opener at USC. The Trojans FYI are 8-2 and in 2nd place in the conference making that road win look better and better.
- During Nahz Carter’s outburst he had an alley-oop lob dunk that was perfectly executed. It used to be a staple of the Romar offense but it’s the first time I can remember the Huskies running it this year. I hope they run it some more to keep the defense honest.
- Hameir Wright had a subpar performance with 0 points and a -11 in just 10 minutes. He’s been trending down over the last few games but he’ll be needed this week against the Arizona schools.
- Kevin Pelton tweeted out that this game is the one Matisse Thybulle should send to NBA scouts as he looked like the best player on the court with 18 points, 6 assists (all in the 1st half), 3 steals, and a block. When his shot is falling and he has confidence he is one of the best players in the conference. Hopefully no NBA executives noticed. Stick around Matisse.
*Edit: 7:36a, 1/29
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